Wildlife Management Areas
WMA (MAP) Goose Harvest Totals | Sacramento-Wilcox
Clear Creek Wildlife Management Area (WMA) at the upper end of Lake McConaughy
encompasses more than 6,200 acres of land and water depending on lake elevation.
Owned by Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District, the Nebraska
Game and Parks Commission leases this area for wildlife management and public
Managed by the Game and Parks Wildlife Division, Clear Creek WMA
is supported by funds from the sale of Nebraska hunting and fishing permits,
habitat stamps, plus federal funds from the excise tax on outdoor equipment.
Clear Creek WMA provides public access to some excellent deer, turkey, pheasant
and waterfowl hunting as well as fishing and mushroom hunting. Non-toxic
shot is required on the entire Clear Creek WMA for all shotgun ammunition whether
you are hunting doves, pheasants or waterfowl.
Clear Creek WMA includes four different designated areas that can seem complex
and confusing with different uses and regulations. This pamphlet should help
hunters, and other outdoor users to determine which areas are open to certain
hunting uses throughout the year. Please use the
map to help you understand
these area designations.
Wildlife Management Area (WMA)
The eastern portion of the Clear Creek WMA is called the Wildlife Management
Area and is a traditional wildlife management area that is open to all
hunting, trapping and fishing within the appropriate seasons. This area
encompasses more than 3,200 acres of riparian woodlands, wetlands, river channel,
lake bed and upland grasslands. This area borders the Lake McConaughy State
Recreation Area on the east, Special Hunting Area on the northwest, and the
seasonal refuge on the southwest (please
refer to map).
Special Hunting Area (SHA)
Another designation on the north side of the river is called the Special Hunting
Area, formerly known as the Controlled Hunting Area (CHA) or firing line.
This area consists of about 300 acres where there are 11 pit blinds for waterfowl
hunting. The SHA is open to hunting waterfowl and other game species until
the check station opens on the Monday before Thanksgiving to Feb. 1 or
as otherwise posted. During the time when the check station is open, hunters
must check in at the check station office and can only hunt within the provided
blinds. Downed birds may be retrieved from the Clear Creek Seasonal Refuge,
although no firearms are allowed there.
Hunters are encouraged to use hunting
dogs to retrieve downed birds, however, caution should be used when ice develops
on the river and wetlands. Up to five blinds at the SHA are available by reservation.
Hunters may apply for reservation dates during Aug. and Sept., and a
drawing is held the first Wed. in Oct. Reservation applications are
available at the Clear Creek WMA field office or at the District IV Office
in North Platte. If any advance reservation dates remain after the drawing,
hunters may call the District IV Office in North Platte at 308-535-8025 to
reserve one. No more than two advance reservations are allowed per individual.
Remaining blinds are allocated each day by a drawing conducted 45 minutes before
legal shooting hours for that day. The check station opens 1 ½ hours before
drawing time. The drawing determines the order of blind selection. Blinds not
allocated in the drawing and those vacated during the day will be assigned
on a first-come, first-served basis.
Hunters may hunt only with the group they
registered with for the drawing. Resident hunters age 16 and older and all
nonresidents must have a valid Nebraska Hunting Permit, Habitat Stamp, Nebraska
Waterfowl Stamp, Federal Migratory Waterfowl Stamp, and HIP registration. Permits
and stamps are not sold on the area, so purchase these required permits and
stamps in advance. Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program number (HIP)
is required by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Nebraska Game and Parks
Commission regulations. HIP registration is free. It is available 24 hours
a day by calling toll-free 1-888-403-2473 or online a www.outdoornebraska.org.
Weather conditions can affect the goose harvest immensely. Early winter storms,
cold, and snow accumulation in Canada and the northern states can prompt early
waterfowl migrations into the North Platte Valley. Such conditions can mean
good numbers of geese at Clear Creek but this same weather can push geese further
south as well. If these birds continue to hold on the area for an extended
period, they become very decoy and blind shy. The best harvest levels at Clear
Creek come when there are numerous migration occurrences which push new groups
of geese into the area all season long.
Clear Creek Seasonal Refuge
This portion of the Clear Creek WMA consists of 2,500 acres west of the Special
Hunting Area on both the north and south sides of the North Platte River. This
area does not include the Garden County Refuge which has different regulations
(see map). The Clear Creek Seasonal Refuge is closed to waterfowl hunting at
all times except for an area on the eastern boundary where posted as open to
waterfowl hunting. All waterfowl blinds must be removed at the end of the
day (day use only). The Clear Creek Seasonal Refuge is open to hunting, fishing,
trapping, and other outdoor access except from the Monday before Thanksgiving
until February 15th or as authorized. This area provides good pheasant and
deer hunting opportunities until the Monday before Thanksgiving.
Garden County Refuge portion of Clear Creek WMA
This area is designated as the portion on the North Platte River and land within
110 yards of the river banks or as posted with “State of Nebraska Game Bird
Sanctuary signs”, in Garden County, Nebraska. The Garden County Refuge is closed
to all bird hunting. It is closed to all hunting except deer hunting is allowed during all legal seasons until the refuge closes on the Monday before Thanksgiving.
Lake McConaughy State Recreation Area (SRA)
This area lies east of the Wildlife Management Area. Hunting is permitted from
the first Tuesday following Labor Day through the conclusion of spring turkey
season, unless prohibited or restricted by appropriate signs or specific area
regulations. Hunting is prohibited within 100 yards of any public use facility
or activity area, including picnic areas, campgrounds, cabins, boat ramps,
parking lots, and concession areas.
The North Platte River upstream from Lake McConaughy offers fishing opportunity
for a variety of species including white bass, walleye, and channel catfish.
Numerous common carp provide recreational angling, spearing, and bowfishing.
Clear Creek WMA is also popular with hikers, mushroom hunters, and bird watchers.
Birders enjoy some excellent viewing opportunities during both spring and
fall migrations. They can spot most species of waterfowl and shore birds
found in the Central Flyway as well as many grassland species. From mid-February
to mid-April many Sandhill
cranes stage along the North Platte River and
wet meadows on the area. Many folks have seen some of the numerous river
otter that call the area home as well.